This Day in History - 8th December
1542 The birth of Mary Queen of Scots, Scottish Queen who ascended to the throne when she was just 6 days old and was crowned nine months later. A rebellion led to her abdication and later Elizabeth I imprisoned her for a plot to restore the Roman Catholic religion and to take the throne from her. After 19 years in custody, Mary was tried and executed for treason.
1863 The world’s first heavyweight boxing championship took place at Wadhurst, Kent, between Tom King (England) and John C Heenan (US). The fight lasted for 24 rounds and King was the champion. Heenan was America's heavyweight champion under the London Prize Ring, or bare-knuckle rules, but retired after his defeat by the English heavyweight.
1864 The opening of the Clifton Suspension Bridge over the River Avon at Bristol, designed by Isambard Kingdom Brunel when he was aged just 24.
1941 The US, Britain and Australia declared war on Japan following the Pearl Harbour attack the previous day. The attack sank 9 ships of the American fleet and 21 ships were severely damaged. The overall death toll reached 2,403, including 68 civilians.
1941 The birth of Sir Geoff Hurst, English footballer. He made his mark in World Cup history as the only player to have scored a hat-trick in a World Cup final. His three goals came in the 1966 final for England in their 4–2 win over West Germany at the old Wembley stadium.
1952 Her Majesty the Queen announced that she would permit her coronation to be televised.
1965 The new Race Relations Act came into force making racial discrimination unlawful in public places.
1980 John Lennon, former member of the Liverpool group The Beatles, was shot dead by Mark David Chapman who opened fire outside the musician's New York apartment.
1981 Arthur Scargill became leader of 'The National Union Of Mineworkers'. Scargill’s last official connections with his old union expired at the end of 2011. His honorary presidency of the NUM was terminated and so was his last remaining paid employment, as an adviser to the NUM’s Yorkshire and Lancashire Area Trust Funds.
1983 The House of Lords voted in favour of allowing live broadcasts from its chamber.
1993 Daisy Adams of Church Gresley, Derbyshire, thought to be Britain's oldest person at the time, died aged 113 years and 161 days.
1995 Head teacher Philip Lawrence, aged 48, died after being stabbed outside his west London school while protecting a pupil who was being assaulted.
2011 Defence Secretary Philip Hammond announced an end to the ban on women serving on submarines. Female officers would begin serving on Vanguard class nuclear-powered submarines towards the end of 2013 and on the new Astute class submarines from 2015.
2013 Northumberland National Park and the adjoining Kielder Water and forest park, were declared Europe's largest "dark sky park". The award recognises the profound darkness that makes nearly 580 square milesof the county an ideal territory from which to stare up at the night sky.
2014 A £6,000 diamond and sapphire band engagement ring, stolen from a handbag on Caroline Marshall's wedding day in West Sussex, was replaced by Ashraf Ahmed (a Dubai-based jeweller), who was so moved that he gave the bride an identical ring.